ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

So, Is Dimock’s Water Really Safe to Drink?

Preliminary test data appears to complicate the Environmental Protection Agency’s assurances that the water is safe to drink in a Pennsylvania town (EPA said nothing about cause).

Ray Kemble delivers fresh water to a home that had their water contaminated due to hydraulic fracturing on Jan. 18, 2012 in Dimock, Pa. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

March 21: This post has been corrected.

When the Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that tests showed the water is safe to drink in Dimock, Penn., a national hot spot for concerns about fracking, it seemed to vindicate the energy industry’s insistence that drilling had not caused pollution in the area.

But what the agency didn’t say – at least, not publicly – is that the water samples contained dangerous quantities of methane gas, a finding that confirmed some of the agency’s initial concerns and the complaints raised by Dimock residents since 2009.

The test results also showed the group of wells contained dozens of other contaminants, including low levels of chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency’s “trigger level” and could lead to illness if consumed over an extended period of time. The EPA’s assurances suggest that the substances detected do not violate specific drinking water standards, but no such standards exist for some of the contaminants and some experts said the agency should have acknowledged that they were detected at all.

“Any suggestion that water from these wells is safe for domestic use would be preliminary or inappropriate,” said Ron Bishop, a chemist at the State University of New York’s College at Oneonta, who has spoken out about environmental concerns from drilling.

Dimock residents are struggling to reconcile the EPA’s public account with the results they have been given in private.

“I’m sitting here looking at the values I have on my sheet – I’m over the thresholds – and yet they are telling me my water is drinkable,” said Scott Ely, a Dimock resident whose water contains methane at three times the state limit, as well as lithium, a substance that can cause kidney and thyroid disorders. “I’m confused about the whole thing… I’m flabbergasted.”

The water in Dimock first became the focus of international attention after residents there alleged in 2009 that natural gas drilling, and fracking, had led to widespread contamination. That April, ProPublica reported that a woman’s drinking water well blew up. Pennsylvania officials eventually determined that underground methane gas leaks had been caused by Cabot Oil and Gas, which was drilling wells nearby. Pennsylvania sanctioned Cabot, and for a short time the company provided drinking water to households in the Dimock area.

This January, the EPA announced it would take over the state’s investigation, testing the water in more than 60 homes and agreeing to provide drinking water to several of families – including the Elys – in the meantime.

Then, last Thursday, the EPA released a brief statement saying that the first 11 samples to come back from the lab “did not show levels of contamination that could present a health concern.” The agency noted that some metals, methane, salt and bacteria had been detected, but at low levels that did not exceed federal thresholds. It said that arsenic exceeding federal water standards was detected in two samples.

But Dimock residents say the agency’s description didn’t jibe with the material in test packets distributed to them, and they voiced concerns about why the EPA had passed judgment before seeing results from nearly 50 homes. Several shared raw data and materials they were given by the EPA with Josh Fox, the director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “GasLand,” who shared them with ProPublica.

EPA press secretary Betsaida Alcantara said the agency was trying to be forthcoming by giving the tests results to Dimock residents and is now considering whether to release more information to the public about the water samples. “We made a commitment to the residents that we would give them the information as soon as we had it,” she said. “For the sake of transparency we felt it was the right thing to do.”

However preliminary, the data is significant because it is the first EPA research into drilling-related concerned on the east coast, and the agency’s first new information since it concluded that there was likely a link between fracking and water contamination in central Wyoming last December. The EPA is currently in the midst of a national investigation into the effects of fracking on groundwater, but that research is separate.

As the agency has elsewhere, the EPA began the testing in Dimock in search of methane and found it.

Methane is not considered poisonous to drink, and therefore is not a health threat in the same way as other pollutants. But the gas can collect in confined spaces and cause deadly explosions, or smother people if they breathe too much of it. Four of the five residential water results obtained by ProPublica show methane levels exceeding Pennsylvania standards; one as high as seven times the threshold and nearly twice the EPA’s less stringent standard.

The methane detections were accompanied by ethane, another type of natural gas that experts say often signifies the methane came from deeply buried gas deposits similar to those being drilled for energy and not from natural sources near the surface.

Among the other substances detected at low levels in Dimock’s water are a suite of chemicals known to come from some sort of hydrocarbon substance, such as diesel fuel or roofing tar. They include anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene– all substances described by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cancer-causing even in very small amounts. Chromium, aluminum, lead and other metals were also detected, as were chlorides, salts, bromide and strontium, minerals that can occur naturally but are often associated with natural gas drilling.

It is unclear whether these contaminants have any connection to drilling activities near Dimock. The agency says it plans further testing and research.

Many of the compounds detected have not been evaluated for exposure risk by federal scientists or do not have an exposure limit assigned to them, making it difficult to know whether they present a risk to human health.

Inconsistencies in the EPA’s sampling results also are raising concerns. EPA documents, for example, list two different thresholds for the detection of bromide, a naturally occurring substance sometimes used in drilling fluids, opening up the possibility that bromide may have been detected, but not reported, in some tests.

“The threshold that it is safe, that shouldn’t be changing,” said Susan Riha, director of the New York State Water Resources Institute and a professor of earth sciences at Cornell University. “For some reason … one was twice as sensitive as the other one.”

The EPA did not respond to questions about the detection limits, or any other technical inquiries about the test data.

A spokesman for Cabot declined to comment on the water test results or their significance, saying that he had not yet seen the data.

Correction: This post said EPA tests had detected bromium in some Dimock water wells. It should have said bromide. Also, the post identified Susan Riha as the director of the New York State Water Resources Group. She is the director of the Water Resources Institute at Cornell University.

I was waiting to see what kind of spin you would put on this. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed, you ran to your hard core anti-drilling “scientific” sources and got them to spin the results in the worst possible way they could. But the facts are the facts, there isn’t any evidence that the water quality issues currently seen in Dimock have anything to do with drilling and we now have the EPA’s data to corroborate that. It would appear that the well water in Dimock is perfectly safe to drink, with levels of contaminates no greater than what would normally be seen in an area with similar geology and residential development.

But why should the EPA’s testing show contamination linked to drilling activities, the DEP’s didn’t and the DEP had access to the drilling companies baseline water quality data … something you continually refuse to even acknowledge let alone address.

If the drilling is done correctly i believe them in that it isn’t unsafe,  but the problem is when they cut corners to save money accidents happen.  Whether its a cracked concrete seal or just incorrect disposal of the fluids this can and does contaminate soil and water.  Any logical person knows that.  I can show list of fines in the dozens for violations of drilling companies in PA alone.  Thats the problem doing it cheap to save money.  If they were respectful of the way they do their fracking their wouldnt be a problem.

Sheldon, your view reflects the sentiment of many in the southwest corner of PA. My friends and I see the fracking boom as a gold rush, and everyone wants to strike it rich quick. I think the methane harvested from these wells can help us transition from an oil economy, but we have to do it responsibly. If people’s wells are becoming contaminated, I don’t see that as acceptable.

Mike H: What part of “preliminary” do you not understand in your scientific mind. The Catskill Formation is common to many other parts of Pennsylvania with underlying Marcellus (and other marine) formation. Yet, in areas with no active drilling the high methane is NOT common nor is other common organics. While PADEP persists in pointing out the Salt Springs State Park well, they refuse to acknowledge even what the Indians knew that this is a rare occurrence of salt (brines) and the related methane. It is interesting that Ivy Industrial Park TCE/PCE investigation just to the south is in the same (Catskill) formation and had hundreds of wells tested. Yet the only organics were related to the solvents at several sources. Again, if you say “similar geologic terrain” then why is high methane not detected in Luzerne and other southern counties not drilled yet, or even to the south near Waverly. If you wish to play geologist, get a degree and license. We have enough so called experts playing the role these days.

I’m sure that if you put glasses of Dimocks water in front of any of the nay sayers including Gas company executives and their families.I very highly doubt any of them would drink it.

Very well said Murray. This industry will just keep denying, but if you challenge them to drink water from one of the contaminated wells, well that’s another story.

To anyone that states Dimock’s water is safe to drink: I would like you to go drink that water for 2 years. If you’re still alive we can debate further on the safe/unsafe issue.

Yes I would love to travel from city to city where frac tech international (dallas fort worth area) and interview people who live near gas drilling and ask them myself!!

They include anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene– all substances described by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cancer-causing even in very small amounts.

Ooohhhhh … so scary! But like with many things written by Mr Lustgarten, context is king, so lets dig into what the water quality report said and what the relative risks are.

Fluoranthene wasn’t detected in any sample at a greater concentration of .3 micrograms/liter. The EPA’s NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) for fluoranthene is 125 mg/kg/day. That means at a concentration of .3 micrograms/liter (the largest value from the study), a 65lb child would have to consume a staggering 3,286,000 gallons of water EVER DAY to even reach the lowest level of concern that the EPA has epidemiological data on for fluoranthene.

Anthracene wasn’t detected in any sample at a greater concentration of .23 micrograms/liter. The EPA’s for anthracene is 1000 mg/kg/day. That means at a concentration of .23 micrograms/liter (the largest value from the study), our same 65lb child would have to consume a mind boggling 34,324,943 gallons of water EVER DAY to even reach the lowest level of concern that the EPA has epidemiological data on for anthracene.

Pyrene wasn’t detected in any sample at a greater concentration of .26 micrograms/liter. The EPA’s for pyrene is 75 mg/kg/day. That means at a concentration of .26 micrograms/liter (the largest value from the study), our same 65lb child would have to consume a mind boggling 2,277,000 gallons of water EVER DAY to even reach the lowest level of concern that the EPA has epidemiological data on for pyrene.

And finally we come to benzo(a)pyrene which wasn’t detected in any sample at a greater concentration of .2 micrograms/liter. The EPA’s doesnt specify what the NOAEL for benzo(a)pyrene is, but from what I could dig up a dose of 200 mg/kg/day has been established for mice undergoing intermediate exposure to benzo(a)pyrene. That means at a concentration of .2 micrograms/liter (the largest value from the study), our same 65lb child would have to consume a lake draining 7,894,000 gallons of water EVER DAY to be put in danger from the benzo(a)pyrene levels seen in the EPA’s data.

Now I don’t know anyone, be it man or beast that can consume several million gallons of water a day … perhaps Mr Lustgarten does … I don’t know, but clearly this is an attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Yes yes yes to you Murray…..ask the oil companys to live in and eat and drink from these area for a week and bath in the contaminated water…none of them will…it sickens me what THEY are getting away with and moving closer to my home—-

Would the gas execs give this “safe” water to their kids to grow on?  Or is Dimock and other neighborhood frack water another socialized loss for financial gain?

is there really ANY acceptable level of carcinogens or dangerous chemicals to have in your family’s drinking water??

I hear you Marlene,I am in contract with my Independent MLA up here in B.C.Canada.She is up north near Tumbler Ridge looking into Dying animals and people that are getting sick.[She is there to find the truth]Our current Provincial Goverment is being Brainwashed by $ signs and the Gas Co. lobbyists.B.C. is 2nd only to the U.S.in fracking.The reason they are doing so much isn’t for ther peoples interest but for a cheap energy souce for the Tar Sands in Alberta.Please search: CBC 16x9   at that site pls search Fracking,It will give you an idea of whats going on up here.It is sure easy for these nay sayers to slam this topic when it’s not their drinking water.

As usual,  the story got ahead of the facts!

I don’t know if it’s possible to safely extract shale gas in any region, including and especially the heavily populated and groundwater-dependent Northeast. I don’t know if anyone knows. Even if it is possible to extract shale gas safely, is that what is happening? There have been a tremendous number of violations in PA.

A PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center study of PADEP records found that between Jan. 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, there were 3,355 violations of environmental laws by 64 different Marcellus Shale gas drilling companies in PA and that 2,392 of the violations “likely posed a direct threat to our environment and were not reporting or paperwork violations.” The study also pointed out that because of limited PADEP enforcement staff, additional violations probably occurred that were not noted by the PADEP.

The Scranton Times-Tribune is currently reporting on methane contamination in Franklin Township, PA. Investigations into that situation are ongoing.

There are so many red flags out there at this point that to continue putting people’s health & property at risk would be criminal. We need a nationwide moratorium on shale gas extraction & we also need an honest and open investigation into its safety.

Just want to make sure that everybody knows the energy companies actually pay people to monitor these sites and post disinformation.  They make it sound really official or down to earth too.  If you follow these sites enough you can almost spot them by their writing style and certain phrases.

EPA should be ashamed.  I use to work there BR (Before Reagan).  Now its just mostly hacks.

Obama bowed to the financial industry for money and now it appears he wants money from the energy industry.

I have recently read a book, Censoring Science (Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of global Warming). That was under George W. Bush. I smell something similar going on here. It’s a shame that this is under Barack Obama. EPA workers are likely as pissed as we are. Obama has a website. Barrage him with complaints about this.

Betsy, I access Common Dreams daily. On that site it’s easy to detect the paid disinformers. They project a pseudo-cool (until somebody really pricks their soft underbelly); and then they stay on and repeatedly post to argue against all who disagree with them.

More global; warming?

It took only 2 1/2 months for Dimock’s tap water to to eat through a plastic gallon (water). Then, unfortunately, my Nuke Alert is set off at over 40 beeps per second every time I walk passed where it leaked with a trail out the door into the yard. Oops! I polluted! What puzzles me is why the local wells don’t have methane contamination.

Barry Schmittou

March 20, 2012, 8:42 p.m.

Betsy said :

“the energy companies actually pay people to monitor these sites and post disinformation”

I agree. I’m also sure that Obama and the Dems, the Repubs, and every major corporate criminal organization does the same.

They do everything they can to keep complete control over every aspect of media including comment sections where much of the real evidence in the world is posted. I am often attacked when I post the evidence I’ve compiled at :

http://www.stopdeadlycorporatecrimes.blogspot.com

The campaign contributions that support that evidence are seen in Exhibit C of my Federal Court filing that is posted at :

http://www.obamadrugmurdersconnection.blogspot.com

(Everything else on that site is redundant with the first site. The first site has the newest evidence regarding Obama and the U.S. government protecting Wachovia Banks laundering of $378 billion for the murderous Mexican cartels.)

(Wachovia Paid $110 Million in Fines Which is 1/3 of one percent of the $378 Billion of Murder Related Money They Laundered !!)

I believe all the corporate crimes including the energy companies collusion with the EPA are all very connected as evidenced by Bill Moyers quote on PBS :

“How did politics create a winner-take-all economy? This was an inside job, politically engineered by Wall Street and Washington working hand-in-hand, to turn the legend of Robin Hood on its head: giving to the rich and taking from everybody else. It’s all on the record.”

Our government’s relationship with the energy industry is like a sophisticated corporate mafia “inside job” too. I believe we should all try to stop injustices. At the same time there is so much evidence that our government is controlled by murderous sociopaths I believe the most important thing we can do is pray and be as close to God as we possibly can. I also pray God will help the sociopaths to see the destruction there greed is causing, and find God and change their ways.

I’ve had cancer burned from one eye and orbital surgery on the other, I have many falls and accidents and typing makes that worse, and there’s so much evidence I’m having huge problems getting it organized.

Since we are all in great danger I am obsessed with doing whatever I can.

Any Grand Jury can easily organize the evidence and seek indictments of Obama and Bush and their DOL, DOJ and SEC, EPA and other agency directors.I probably won’t be responding to any new attacks from Mike H or any of the other names he posts under; responding to their obfuscations is like playing a shell game blindfolded.

At least Im glad to see that the EPA has stepped up to pay for the water for these people and their animals. Im so tired of seeing tax payers having to foot the bills (bail outs) for corporate executives who rape the poor, middle class and the land so they can get richer.  Id say before they frack in other peoples back yards, they first need to frack their own properties including vacation homes and then frack each and every one of their relatives…then, and only then I may change my opinion on fracking. Theres an old saying about doing unto others as youd have done to you

it is so annoying to read some of the comments of people who are so quick to defend the companies who are doing this fracking. why are they jumping to their defense. why would they not even consider that a company (and our government) would do something harmful or unethical and then hide or lie about their actions. to me it is quite obvious that fracking is harmful to the health of people and the health of our earth. why is it always about money. why are so many people against working towards green energy alternatives. i for one would sacrifice the conveniences in my life, what little i have, for a better world for all. it really is all so frustrating.

Just a slight technical correction,  As a chemist I must point out that the term “heavy metals” really doesn’t mean anytthing.  Please refer to the link below and the copied abstract from The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

It is often used as a group name for metals and semimetals (metalloids) that have been associated with contamination and potential toxicity or ecotoxicity. At the same time, legal regulations often specify a list of “heavy metals” to which they apply. Such lists differ from one set of regulations to another and the term is sometimes used without even specifying which “heavy metals” are covered. However, there is no authoritative definition to be found in the relevant literature. There is a tendency, unsupported by the facts, to assume that all so-called “heavy metals” and their compounds have highly toxic or ecotoxic properties. This has no basis in chemical or toxicological data. Thus, the term “heavy metals” is both meaningless and misleading.

http://iupac.org/publications/pac/74/5/0793/

Statoil has a better fracking record than other companies because of their claims they don’t cut corners. Wildcat oparations do, like in Colorado and Wyoming. They all need to be watched consistently

Fracking must be stopped they are ruining our land and precious environment…when will the people of America wake up? This should be one of the biggest fights in American History… before they (GOV + GAS CO’s) destroy it all!

The problem, as I see it is not the extraction of oil and gas, it’s the special treatment the gas and oil industry bought and paid for from our elected offitials, whose salaries we pay, who changed the constitution to grant exemptions to the industry from the laws that protected the citizens and environment. That was a smart move on the part of the industry - they did their homework and real dumb of the American people to not vote the scoundrels out of office. When 40% of the people make the rules and 60% don’t give a d__ned about what congress is doing, you get what we have. Freedom is not free! Neither is the media truthful. You need to register to vote and then research your politicians and weed out the ones who take money and vote for the legislation favoring the money giver. It really is our fault.

Ever since the Supreme Court gave corporations personhood the whole country will crumble…....the money they are now able to give as persons outweighs the democratic notion of one person one vote. The corporations now legally buy and sell politicians and there is no hope unless the people wake up.

The only reason to hurry up and frack (why not wait, the prices are terriblyl low now) is to get in before we find the links between it and diseases and pollution. They are just shipping the excess to China anyway…....chill and study…...but they know what they will find.

Jen H: you said you are tired of taxpayers having to foot the bill, and you are glad the EPA is providing clean water, (to Dimmick residents), well, the EPA is taxpayer funded, too, so yes, we taxpayers are paying to provide clean water to replace the water that the corporate criminals contaminated. Declare your county fracking-free and work to amend the constitution to deny person-hood to corporations, etc.

I read a very disheartening article in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/us/wind-river-indian-reservation-where-brutality-is-banal.html about the Wind River Reservation of Wyoming the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined in the middle of the state and the article was about the large crime rate and there are only six police men in the entire area said there the following:

“On one section of the reservation, people must boil drinking water because chemicals, possibly the result of the oil and natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, have contaminated the water supply. And fearing that the chemicals might explode in a home, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered residents to run fans and otherwise ensure ventilation while bathing or washing clothes.” 

the story is about the huge unemployment at this location were all this gas drilling is going on but no Indians seem to be able to get a job and the unemployment rate is 80%

I live in the West, in the Rockies. You can drive through Canyons where the earth has moved huge blocks of Land upward. Going through a Canyon, you see Ice frozen where water has leaked from the cracks in the rock.

The forces that drive mountains high come from deep in the earth and the rock is not just a solid piece like concrete, it is pourous, lots of rocks of different sizes, intertwined, and they have “gaps” between them that allows water to come down 10,000 feet to the valley below as springs, creeks, and rivers.

Inside snowcapped mountains are reservoirs that leak gradually and provides a year round spring as it makes its way to the valley floor. If there is not enough snow in the winter, the water in the creek drys up early. So the mountain is a reservoir of water with gradual leakage through the cracks that wind up as creeks and springs.

Now imagine if you were to take a mountain and turn it upside down, with the water being forced Upward (can do that if a geyser) like in Yellowstone and New Zealand.

In this case, Gas that can rise to the surface rather than water that flows downward.

We have a river that flows in a valley and runs out into the high desert and disappears. It later appears, 150 miles away at springs.

Years ago, a farmer tried to create a reservoir by using a bull dozer to dig a deep pond and then using the bull dozer to divert this river to the pond. The pond filled up.

The farmer came back a few days later and all the water was gone. It had drained out into the cracks in the bottom of the pond. Where he had disturbed the normal River channel, the water was also gone or diminished.

When he bull dozed the river bottom to funnel water into his newly dug reservoir, he disturbed the “silt cover” that plugged the cracks that mother nature had filled over centuries. Disturbing that base, opened up cracks and fissures that allowed the water to seep into and disappear.

Now think upside down. Gas rises and disturbing the century old barriers of mother nature could cause cracks to open up, couldn’t it?

I do not think, where the “fracking” is taking place is much different than this unique area in the Rockies. East of here just might have a deeper top soil but down deep, the same cracks we have in the west, that Mother Nature has plugged up with silt, are present and if disturbed, will cause the water to disappear (water table) and in the case of gas, to rise up into the drinking water.

Just ask the people who turned on the tap and watched it blow up.

Wonder why? The earth is constantly changing, mini-earthquakes and lots of movement, shifting of rock and “cracks” that would allow water to seep away. Or cause Gas to escape upward into the Water shed.

Hopefully, someone will recognize that before all ancient water tables are ruined.

I think if all these people believe the water is safe to drink they should get a bottle to drink every day for a year and then have their blood tested. That’s the only way to prove that the water is safe. You people be the lab rats!!!!!

No matter how “God like” an individual, Corporation or conglomerate thinks they are, it is gross ignorance to confront/oppose the natural order of existance. It is as it is and you don’t mess with MOTHER NATURE. Mike, you are right -very observant! As things are going, in four generations all our babies will be born in a test tube, provided we freeze enough sperm now while our males are still capable. Check out Dr. Theo Colburns research on Endocrine Disruptors (ED) for a reality check.

I disagree with the comment that the residents of Carter Road in Dimmock had water delivered for a short time. 3 and a half years is NOT a short time to put up with their lives being disrupted. Also ,in the winter they had to pay excess electric bills to keep the water from freezing. When they filled a glass with water ,it looked like milk and when they put their finger into the glass , they could not see it.  Their kids cryed when they found out that the Pa DEP said they could return to the same well water. They did NOT want to be covered with scabs again and someday have children. PaDEP is a Paper Tiger when they backed off from a directive to Cabot to bring municipal water from Montrose.When acting DEP secretary John Hanger refused to drink the water he said was fine in the film Gasland, he showed his level of commitment and beliefs. These are crimes against humanity and have to be addressed.No matter how many criminals get paid off!

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

I was reminded of this Paine quote after reading the comments here. No results will be accepted unless they already agree with the preconceptions of the anti-frackers.

As someone here once did to me, I have to direct people here to “Inconclusive by Design,” an easy-to-read report (PDF freely downloadable—just plug the title into a search engine) detailing a history of the EPA and related organizations “investigating” superfund sites (remember those?) using mathematical models and experimental methodologies that couldn’t possibly result in a real conclusion.  It shows a systemic approach at the time of covering up concerns rather than exposing them.

Regarding fracking itself, it’s the wrong approach, even if it was perfectly safe.  It assumes that, if it was cutting edge in 1950, it’s perfect for today, too.  It’s brute force, and only an idiot uses brute force to solve a problem for more than half a century.

As I mentioned in commenting on another article, it’s highly likely that natural gas (y’know, methane, which is exactly what we all pretend doesn’t come out of us) is created in a biological process actively performed on existing petroleum products.  Logically, it’s the only possible difference between fossil fuel deposits with natural gas and those without.

Rather than destroy the deposits, find the fungus or bacteria that eats coal and oil and excretes methane, and gas can be harvested from abandoned mines and wells, for example, essentially for the price of containment.  More benefit and less cost than fracking, making energy nearly pure profit.

Of course, the downside would be that oil executives and geologists can’t overcompensate for their other shortcomings by thrusting pipes deep into Mother Earth to ejaculate their fracking fluids.  That’ll probably result in a decrease in employment for Freudian therapists.

But as a bonus, it’s likely that such a bug would also happily clean up our oil spills and (with luck) plastic garbage along the way.

First,I am tired of the rhetoric about how natural gas will give us energy independance when vast quantities are being exported to the highest bidder and new LNG ports are being requested along the coasts so the gas can be sold outside the USA on the spot market!  Same for the pipeline for the tar sands oil when there is no reqiirement to keep that oil in the USA! It’s all about the profit,not our independance and as for the environmental issues;what a joke! The fox watches the henhouse just like the MMS scandal a few years ago. Money talks and big oil money roars! Remember the Gulf oil nightmare which still leaks to this day! “But It’s a Big Gulf”!!! (Disclaimer);I have invested on the spot market for both oil and gas and have made money but stopped because it is destroying this country!

Bang On Pat,When will people open their eyes to the Truth.This has nothing to to what’s best for the people.It’s only for the best intrests of the Corporations.It’s all about Greed.Just like the Food industry that buys off and lobbys the Goverment to allow crap like the Pink sludge that goes into our food chain.Shame on them all!

I’m going to buy up all of this land in and around Dimock.  I’ll offer the owners reasonable rates, but I’m definitely going to get my money’s worth.  Then, with the EPA’s support since the water is so clean, I’m going to open me a water bottling plant and bottle me some water and get rich selling perfectly clean and safe bottled water to all the bottled-water drinking folk all over the country; maybe even Europe.  Anybody want in?  We’ll all get rich, and with EPA’s blessing; why would they refuse?  All of the analysis is already being conducted and the results are in:  THE WATER IS SAFE!  I hope nobody steals my idea.

These are the most highly scrutinized water wells in the country.  Not a single entity has answered anything other than YES, THE WATER IS SAFE TO DRINK. 

Mike Knapp

It is easy to make comments and voice opinions. Unfortunately, commenting and voicing opinions without knowledge of truths is ignorance. I transported 6 gallons of the Sautner’s water to the Ottsville, PA area for a meeting, keeping 1 gallon for showing in my hometown. By mid September the chemicals in the water ate holes in the water (pastic) container. It dripped on the floor, out the door and into the yard as I carried the leaky jug out of the house. It left a trail of radioactive something that still sets my Nuk Alert off everytime I get near where it dripped. In December, the water at the Sautners had changed very little in color and smell or radioactivity. Anyone claiming otherwise is either paid to make such claims or is outright ignorant of the facts. Someone making statements that are untrue, knowing they are untrue is a liar.

To anyone suggesting that fracking will provide energy independence, do some research.  The natural gas being harvested through this poisonous process is being shipped to other countries for sale.

Never mind me, I’m a paid shill.

If I knocked over an oil filter from my car near a storm drain I could get fined or sent to jail.  How does anyone get a pass pumping diesel fuel and other chemicals in the ground?

PLEASE SIGN this PETITION that AMERICAN RIVERS started to BAN FRACKING in the Susquehanna River Valley Basin.  PLEASE - have to reach 2,500 soon.  Thank you!    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-natural-gas-development-in-the-susquehanna-river-basin

This comment is directed specifically to Mike H, but also those attempting to defend fracking.  You are missing the fundamental point here.  From my perspective that is twofold:

1.  As long as you try to defend fracking and try to paint a picture which is clean and pristine to people like me who are, very admittedly, suspicious and skeptical of fracking, you will fail.  While I appreciate your efforts, the thought and time and math you have put into your posts here, you will fail with me, and that is because of point #2.

2.  The water is not clean and pristine anymore.  It has been tainted at least, but more likely ruined.  There is no acceptable level of these compounds except zero.  Synthetic compounds appearing in drinking water is unacceptable at any level.  There is no defense.  Period.

@EdwinPJr

Your entire argument boils down to “don’t confuse me with the facts, I already have my mind made up”.

How very progressive.

Actually, that increasingly sounds like your position, Mike, and Edwin’s point is sound.  Where is the ecosystem damage coming from that appears to coincide with fracking?

Seriously.  I don’t mean that as an insult or sarcasm.  Move away from “there’s no proven link” and towards solving the problem.  The former has no credibility because there was once no proven link between socialization and the flu, or cigarettes and lung cancer.

Can you show that there’s no link or that the link is to something else, or are you simply relying on the fact that no EPA model (which are statistically invalid for the purpose) have demonstrated the link to avoid responsibility?

The problem is this: do you err on the side of profit for the next 5 years, or, do you make a decision based on the fact that clean ground water can not be created, and when it is gone, it is GONE.  we can’t drink fossil fuels.  or methane.  and this water—similar to what is found in wyoming—can’t be used in ag or livestock operations.  REALLY?  in a hundred years, all the money made from from these wells will not be enough to purchase clean ground water.  profit now, to risk something that absolutely cannot be replaced?  You think gas prices are bad?  Just wait for what you will pay for clean water in 25 years.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Fracking

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat

The promise of abundant natural gas is colliding with fears about water contamination.

The Story So Far

The country’s push to find clean domestic energy has zeroed in on natural gas, but cases of water contamination have raised serious questions about the primary drilling method being used. Vast deposits of natural gas, large enough to supply the country for decades, have brought a drilling boom stretching across 31 states. The drilling technique being used, called hydraulic fracturing, shoots water, sand and toxic chemicals into the ground to break up rock and release the gas.

More »

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.

optional